Founded at the initiative of Prof. John Neumeier, the National Youth Ballet is unique throughout Germany. Eight young professional dancers aged 18 to 23 spend up to two years with the young company, which is supported by federal funds and wishes to make ballet a public and social experience. Therefore, the ensemble appears not only at opera houses, concert halls and theatres, but also in schools, senior citizens’ homes, swimming pools, clubs and even prisons. Dance, music and song are of equal importance in the young company’s performances with its partners. The National Youth Ballet honours the past by studying works from the history of ballet, experiences the present by working with contemporary choreographers of different ages and styles, and invests in the future of dance by commissioning its own works and supporting talented young choreographers. The dancers come from all over the world. Their home is the Hamburg Ballet Centre John Neumeier; their language is dance. Since the National Youth Ballet’s Young Euro Classic debut in 2012, the dancers perform together with young musicians for the ninth time at Young Euro Classic in 2020.
The US-American John Neumeier is among the most important choreographers of our times. As Ballet Director and Artistic Director of the Hamburg Ballet, he turned this company into one of Germany’s leading ones. John Neumeier won international acclaim for his combination of traditional ballet with new, contemporary forms. One of John Neumeier’s passions is the support and education of young talent. In 1978, he founded the Ballet School of the Hamburg Ballet. In 2011, John Neumeier founded the National Youth Ballet, whose artistic director he has been ever since. John Neumeier has been awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit twice and was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 2003; he is also a recipient of the Japanese Kyoto Prize. In 2006 John Neumeier established the John Neumeier Foundation with the aim of preserving and eventually making available to the public his collection of dance and ballet-related objects.
Kevin Haigen is Artistic and Pedagogical Director of the National Youth Ballet. He received his training at the School of American Ballet. After dancing with the American Ballet Theatre and the Stuttgart Ballet, he joined the Hamburg Ballet in 1976 to work with John Neumeier. In 1984, he joined the Nederlands Dans Theater, became Principal Dancer, Ballet Master, teacher and choreographer at the Ballet de Monte Carlo in 1985, joined the Béjart Ballet Lausanne in 1986 and returned in 1991 to Hamburg. As Principal Ballet Master of the Hamburg Ballet and teacher for the School of the Hamburg Ballet he teaches internationally and stages John Neumeier’s ballets all over the world. Kevin Haigen was awarded with the Theaterpreis Hamburg – Rolf Mares 2019 for the coproduction Bundesjugendballett trifft Shakespeare with the Ernst Deutsch Theater. Most inspiring for him is the development of the future: training creative thinkers and movers that the art of ballet is a never-ending journey.
It has been an absolute audience favourite at Young Euro Classic for many years: the National Youth Ballet, founded by John Neumeier. Once again, the eight international dance talents and their music ensemble present an extraordinary evening. Under the artistic direction of Kevin Haigen, the young artists present choreographies from their repertoire and new creations to live chamber music works from various epochs. Come explore a magical world of wonderful sights and sounds!